Beyoncé’s been giving back to her hometown of Houston as it digs out from under the disaster that was Hurricane Harvey.
After Harvey left Houston a flooded mess, the singer teamed up with some local organizations to help bring attention to the disaster relief efforts and making a few on-the-ground appearances herself. Disaster relief is nothing new for Beyoncé — in 2005, she set up the Survivor Foundation to help victims of Hurricane Katrina — so it didn’t come as a huge surprise that she took such a hands-on approach when Houston needed her.
It was during the Hand in Hand charity telethon, however, that Beyoncé addressed an underlying issue that many in our own government aren’t willing to tackle: climate change.
Stating the obvious — that natural disasters don’t care about the color your skin is, the religion you practice, or how much money you’ve got in your checking account — Beyoncé segued into a message about the long-term effects of climate change. Citing a number of recent disasters, which, mind you, aren’t in themselves proof of climate change but are what we can look forward to if we don’t take swift action, she called on viewers to “come together in a collective effort to raise our voices, to help our communities, to lift our spirits, and heal” before it’s too late.
Make no mistake about it: Climate change has been and will continue to disparately harm poor communities and people of color.
Anyone can be hit by a natural disaster, but poorer countries and poorer parts of the U.S. are less equipped to be able to effectively prepare for or recover from tragedy. Many people can’t afford to just pack up their belongings and move out of harm’s way or rebuild homes destroyed by storm winds and debris. Fights against racism, climate change, and income inequality are inextricably linked; it’s why a number of groups have taken an intersectional approach on so many of these topics.
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